Changing your thoughts and putting together your vision board to increase your energy!

Enjoying the crisp air, deep blue of the sky, and the sunshine on my face during a morning walk, I listened to one of Dave Asprey’s podcasts with guest Wesley Chapman, co-founder of A Human Project, a mission to create a community of empowered youth. Wesley Chapman was incredibly inspiring to me. He has overcome so much abuse and neglect and is now in a place to help youth live out their desired lives. He discussed how we get stuck in our stories and think we can’t be in a certain state or do something we want to do because of our past, lack of resources, and our limitations. How many times have you found yourself saying I can’t do this because or I want to do this BUT

My big desire for the last decade has always been more energy. For a big chunk of January, my energy plummeted and I felt completely flat. Nothing excited me. I just wanted to sleep and hide at home. While listening to Wesley, I realized that although I had been doing everything I could think of to increase my energy and drive (more sleep, gentle yoga, green smoothies, chicken broth, and supplements to support energy), I had not paid attention to the continuous loop of my thoughts: I have no energy. What is the matter with you? Get it together!

Crow Pose

It’s a two way street. The state of your physical body affects your thoughts and emotions, but your thoughts also affect your physical well being. So that evening I put together an energy/vitality Pinterest board. It was very therapeutic, and I even included some yoga poses that I have never been able to do…with the intention that I have a strong enough body to do those yoga poses this year! I looked at my energy board the next morning and changed my thoughts: My body is vital and will support me with all the energy I need today. And yes, I did feel an increase in my energy that day and a much more positive state of mind! I look at my energy board everyday now and align my thoughts with my board. And my energy has stayed elevated! I would love to hear if you have created your own vision boards and how they have impacted you!

And to support the two way street, I continue to eat nourishing foods, take my favorite adrenal support formula and stay dedicated to my yoga practice and early
morning walks!

Are you in a rut with your smoothie recipes?

Our brains love NEW experiences. Including new experiences to our tastebuds! I don’t know about you, but I tend to find a yummy smoothie recipe and then stick with it a long time…and then it starts to get boring! I was shopping at Whole Foods recently when they were sampling new products. Good day to go!

One of the samples was Harmless Harvest’s raw coconut  water with added fair-trade coffee. Now I am not even a coffee drinker, but this was delicious! And low in caffeine too, which for me, is a good thing.

How to make the most of my new coffee coconut water. A new smoothie recipe! And yes, it was a pleasurable experience to my tastebuds! Your brain will love it!

Chocolate Coffee Smoothie with Cashew Butter:

4 to 6 oz oz Harmless Harvest raw coconut water (the version with added fair trade coffee)
1/2 frozen banana
1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter
1 tsp Bullet Proof Brain Octane oil (optional for extra brain support)
1/2 scoop Pure Paleo Chocolate Protein
If you desire a colder smoothie, add a couple ice cubes

Blend and enjoy! YUM!

Top Five Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Cold/Flu During the Holiday Season!

Getting sick during the holidays is such a bummer! One of my primary goals this holiday season is to stay healthy and fit! Here are my top five strategies to stay healthy. I hope they serve you well! And please share with your family and friends!


1. Keep hydrated with water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices. This is so important! I carry around my stainless steel water bottle with me everywhere. I have increased my water intake over the last few weeks to about 3 1/2 liters per day and I also drink about 1/2 liter of herbal tea daily. Which equals about 4 liters of hydrating liquids daily.

2. Do you have an end of year annual with your primary care physician? Get your Vitamin D levels checked! In fact, now is the perfect time to get your Vitamin D levels checked. The days are short and our exposure to sun light is minimized. Knowing your typical vitamin D levels during this time of year can help you to assess how much Vitamin D to supplement during the winter time. Although there are differing opinions about what range constitutes an optimal Vitamin D level, most physicians and researchers agree that anything below 30 is low! And optimal Vitamin D levels are essential to a healthy immune system!

3. Sip on chicken bone broth daily for the next several weeks. If you are too busy to make bone broth, you can purchase at many Whole Foods stores. Here are some local San Francisco Bay area resources too.Three Stone Hearth, Mama Tong Soup. Want to make your own broth but don’t know how? Check out this book: Bone Broth Miracle I sip on 4 to 6 ounces of bone broth with my breakfast in the morning during this time of the year. You can also enjoy it at lunch or dinner time. Think of it as an immune booster supplement!

4. Although it is easy to let exercise go during this busy time of the year, keep moving! If you cannot make it to your normal exercise classes, then try to do more of your errands by foot or bicycle! In fact, being outdoors (even though it’s chilly) helps to decease stress…and we all know that stress contributes to getting sick! When I don’t have time to make it to an exercise class, I put on my jacket, go outside, and make my phone calls while walking!

5. And lastly, but NOT least, get as much sleep as you can! It is really easy to short yourself on sleep when you have end of year projects to wrap up, holiday events to attend, and shopping to finish. However, your immune system reboots while you are sleeping. In fact, your whole body reboots while you are asleep! And this time of the year, it is just natural to sleep more! After all, we only have about 9 to 10 hours of day light!

And what do you do if you still feel that cold coming on? The worst is when you wake up with an itchy throat in the morning. Oh no…not a good sign! No worries, time for a bit of Silvercillin Spray magic!  Six sprays to the back of the throat 3x per day and most of the time you can knock out the virus! And even if you do not completely knock it out, it will decrease the severity of your sore throat and cold! Silvercillin Spray is an essential in my medicine cabinet this time of year!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!


Endocrine disruptor chemicals: conclusive evidence that they interfere with your hormones! Time to take action!

What is it going to take to get industry to remove harmful chemicals from products that we buy and agriculture to stop spraying detrimental pesticides on our produce? How much scientific evidence is enough??

According to the Executive Summary of the Endocrine Society’s 2nd Scientific Statement on Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals (EDCs), we have enough evidence that certain chemicals and pesticides interact with our endocrine and neuroendocrine systems…and not in a positive way!

What exactly is an EDC? An endocrine disruptor chemical is an external chemical or mix of chemicals that interferes with any aspect of hormone action. Your endocrine system is your body’s interface to the environment, and thus is very susceptible to EDCs. The developing fetus is especially vulnerable. Unfortunately, mixtures of very low dose EDCs can affect your endocrine system. So it is not just a situation of high exposure to one chemical. The EDCs that have the strongest association with endocrine related diseases are BPA, phthalates, POPs (persistent organic pollutants), and pesticides. ** See below to find out where these chemicals are found in your living environment.

So why is this important to you?

Thinking about starting a family? Or having trouble conceiving?
Has your physician asked you about environmental exposure to chemicals?
EDCs (especially BPA, POPs, and pesticides) affect female reproductive health. In my last blog, I wrote about why it is so important to cleanse before you try to get pregnant. Pre-pregnancy cleanse. According to the Executive Summary, EDCs impact ovarian development, structure, and function, leading to abnormal ovulation and and fertility in animals. Some EDCs adversely affect the uterus and vagina in both animals and humans. Disorders in women that are associated with EDCs include PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, preterm birth, and adverse birth outcomes. And in humans, epidemiological data support association between higher exposure to EDCs during development with decreased IQ and increased neurodevelopmental problems.

And men are not exempt! EDCs act as anti-androgens, (i.e. anti-testosterone) and also as xenoestrogens in men. Low testosterone and higher estrogen in a male is not good for fertility, as well as libido! Animal studies demonstrate clearly that EDCs disrupt the development of the male reproductive tract. And according to the review, semen quality in men is on the decline globally.

Having trouble with your thyroid gland? I have worked with a lot of clients with thyroid issues. Thyroid disruptors include PCBs, other POPS, phthalates, perchlorate, and BPA. Environmental chemicals need to be considered. And if you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, be in the know that epidemiological data show cognitive deficits in children exposed to thyroid disruptors prenatally.

Have you tried just about everything and are still unable to lose weight?
The Scientific Review also placed emphasis on all the new emerging research on EDCs and obesity, Type II Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, in animal studies, developmental exposures to EDCs disrupt energy balance leading to obesity. So the impact of EDCs on the fetus is predisposing an animal to obesity before it is even born! EDCs also alter insulin action leading to Type II Diabetes in animal studies. And there is increasing human evidence that EDCs are associated with obesity, Type II Diabetes, and CVD. In my RENEW class, we go into more detail how these EDCs affect your metabolism and even the size of your fat cells!

You may be more familiar with EDCs and their association with hormone related cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. However, certain classes of EDCs, such as pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and BPA are now being associated with prostate cancer. If you have family history of any of these cancers, please consider the impact of EDCs and talk to your health care practitioner.

What can we do? Education is the first step. Please share this article with your family, friends, and colleagues. The more we are educated on this topic, the greater our voice to influence industry and environmental policy. And please join my RENEW class in January where you learn to reduce your exposure to common environmental toxins and eat foods/take nutrients that help you get these chemicals out of your body so that you can get your health back! RENEW Class Details

**BPA is used primarily to make plastics, and is largely found in plastic baby and water bottles, sports equipment, lining of most food cans, CDs and DVDs, medical and dental devices, and thermal receipts. Phthalates are mainly used as plasticizers, to make plastic more flexible and durable. Phthalates are used in a variety of household applications such as shower curtains, vinyl upholstery, adhesives, floor tiles, food containers and wrappers, and cleaning materials. Personal-care items containing phthalates include perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation. In other words, they just don’t go away! Because of their persistence, POPs bioaccumulate with potential significant impacts on human health and the environment. POPs include pesticides, insecticides, PCBs, DDT (banned decades ago!), and dioxins, which are typically emitted from the burning of hospital waste, municipal waste, and hazardous waste, along with automobile emissions, coal, and wood.


Why Cleanse BEFORE you get pregnant!

Are you planning on getting pregnant and starting a family? This is surely an exciting time for you! And I am sure you want to do everything you can do to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Which means that YOU need to be healthy FIRST before getting pregnant! It is not a question IF you have toxicant build up in your body, it is a question of how much. NOW is the time to “clean out”, not when you are pregnant!

beth=pregnant detox

Over the last ten years, many women have joined my cleanse programs to detoxify before they get pregnant. Perhaps these women felt that they were not eating so healthy or drinking too much alcohol. Or they had been on a round of antibiotics or taking NSAIDs like Advil on a regular basis. Regardless, they intuitively felt like they needed to cleanse.

Studies back up these women’s intuition to cleanse before getting pregnant. You see, certain chemicals that are found in a mother’s serum get into the placenta, fetal cord serum, and amniotic fluid. In fact, the placenta barrier is no barrier at all for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In a study of 200 women, PAHs were found in all placentas!. You can be exposed to PAHs in the environment, in your home, and in the workplace. Fumes from vehicle exhaust, coal, coal tar, asphalt, wildfires, agricultural burning and hazardous waste sites are all sources of exposure. You can also be exposed to PAHs by breathing cigarette and tobacco smoke, eating foods grown in contaminated soil, or by eating meat or other food that you grill. Grilling and charring food actually increases the amount of PAHs in the food. Although more human studies are needed on the impact of PAHs on a developing fetus, animal studies showed that mice exposed to 308 parts per million (ppm) of PAHs in food for 10 days (short term exposure) caused birth defects.

A Swedish mothers’ study in 2003 found PBDEs in all samples of maternal blood, cord blood, and breast milk. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Jul;111(9):1235-41. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, are organobromine compounds that are used as flame retardants. Like other brominated flame retardants, PBDEs have been used in a wide array of products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane foams, and textiles.

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were found in all samples as well. PCBs were banned decades ago, so why are they still around? PCBs are highly persistent, which means that they stick around for a long time in our air, water, and soil. PCBs can be carried long distances and have been found in snow and sea water in areas far away from where they were released into the environment. PCBs have been demonstrated to cause cancer, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. PCBs are found in high amounts in farmed raised salmon and non organic butter!

A review article notes that the main focus of studies of neurological effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in humans has been on the effects in neonates and young children . “A great deal of concern exists that even low levels of PCBs transferred to the fetus across the placenta may induce long-lasting neurological damage. Because PCBs are lipophilic substances, there is also concern that significant amounts might be transferred to nursing infants via breast milk. Studies in humans who consumed large amounts of Great Lakes fish contaminated with environmentally persistent chemicals, including PCBs, have provided evidence that PCB s are important contributors to subtle neurobehavioral alterations observed in newborn children and that some of these alterations persist during childhood. Some consistent observations at birth have been motor immaturity and hyporeflexia and lower psychomotor scores between 6 months and 2 years old.” Effects of PCB’s  **Hyporeflexia is the condition of below normal or absent reflexes (areflexia).

Chemicals like organophosphate pesticides have been found in the cord blood of newborns and in the breast milk. A study of preschool children in Mexico suggests that this exposure may affect neurodevelopment of the children, such as eye-hand coordination, 30-minute memory, and the ability to draw a person. Choosing to eat organic produce, dairy, and meats can greatly decrease your exposure to pesticides!

We do not know exactly what causes autism. But we do know that the rate of autism has dramatically increased and that environmental factors play a role in autism. A great review article on this topic that included studies looking at exposure measures pertaining to pregnancy or the 1st year of life, found that “some environmental exposures showed associations with autism, especially traffic-related air pollutants, some metals, and several pesticides, with suggestive trends for some volatile organic compounds (e.g., methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, and styrene) and phthalates.” Many of these environmental exposures can be minimized! For example, phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, are used in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). Just by switching our your personal care products you can decrease your exposure to phthalates!

Getting educated on how to minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals and how to get these toxins out of your body through dietary and lifestyle changes is key to a healthy pregnancy and baby!

Smelling Moldy?

I can smell mold a mile away. When I smell it, I run for the hills. Antique shops are the worst for me. I last about five minutes before I have to go outside. When I was in my early 30’s, I started to have night sweats. How could I be getting night sweats in my early 30’s? What was going on? Thankfully, one of my instructors alerted me to the fact that it could be something in the bedroom environment. At the time I was living in Santa Cruz, just a few blocks from the ocean. A lot of moisture in the air and one entire wall of the bedroom never got any light. I called a mold specialist to test for mold in my home. Sure enough, there was plenty of mold! Thankfully, not black mold! I left the house for a long weekend while the mold was cleaned up. Miraculously, my night sweats went away!!


Mold exposure is more common than we think. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions. Mold can spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. Molds are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and around metal framed windows. Leaky roofing can also lead to indoor growth of mold. Molds often persist after a one time flooding with improper remediation. You may move into a place and not even know that there was a flooding that took place or that the roof is leaky. It is always a good question to ask before you move into a new place!

What are common symptoms of mold exposure? Nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, and skin irritation are milder symptoms. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. The symptom list does not stop with upper respiratory issues. You see, mycotoxins are chemical toxins on the surface of the mold spore, which you unknowingly inhale or touch. These mycotoxins can be just as harmful as exposure to heavy metals and other chemicals. The symptom list is extensive, as these mycotoxins can make their way into just about any organ of the body. A short list of more common symptoms include debilitating fatigue, brain fog, memory issues, behavioral changes, and joint pain. Sadly, many people feel so ill and have no idea that mold is causing their distress!

There are various types of mold. The most common forms of mold are aspergillus, cladosporium, alternaria, and stachybotrys chartarum: the dreaded ‘Black Mold’. If black mold is present in your home, the best solution is to move and leave your belongings behind. All belongings will be contaminated. If you do not have black mold, you can have the mold professionally cleaned up.

Not sure if you have mold in your home? Call a licensed air testing company that is independent of a mold remediation company. Mold testing needs to be done outside and inside the home. Why? Because there will always be some mold inside the house, coming from the outside. The problem arises when the mold count inside is higher than the mold count outside. The issue with mold plates (which are often used to test for mold) is that the plates will always show some mold coming from the outside and they generally do not test for black mold.

If you find out that you do have mold and it can be cleaned up, take the following precautions to prevent it from coming back:

• Keep humidity levels as low as you can. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low.
• Be sure your home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans, especially in bathrooms! Avoid carpet in bathrooms and basements. Best to avoid it throughout your home!
• If you had water damage to your home, from one time flooding with improper remediation, then follow these steps:

Pull up the carpet and dry it out
Remove and replace the pad
Remove and replace the wall board
And of course, if you are sensitive, hire a professional to clean up the mold!

In Part II, I will be discussing how to test for mold inside your body and how to get it out of your body! Stay tuned!

The ups and downs of SIBO

My gut has been acting up again. I went for a very long symptom free period. But SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth) is back and it is time for me to reassess my diet, supplements, do some testing, and get a handle on it again. SIBO is very common and unfortunately has a high rate of recurrence. SIBO occurs when there is an excess of bacteria in the upper small intestine. These bacteria ferment the carbs you eat into gas and the gas causes pressure and pain usually manifesting in abdominal pain and bloating. Other common symptoms are gas, constipation, diarrhea, and malabsorption. The symptom that haunts me the most is uncomfortable bloating, and I know I am not alone, as this seems to be one of the predominant complaints I hear from my own clients.

The two processes that most commonly predispose you to bacterial overgrowth in the upper small intestine are diminished gastric acid secretion (acid that your stomach produces when you eat) and small intestine dysmotility ((muscle contractions in your GI tract are not working properly). Gastric acid produced in your stomach suppresses the growth of ingested bacteria, thereby limiting bacterial counts in the upper small intestine. Diminished acid production (hypochlorhydria) becomes more prevalent as you age and also occurs when you take PPI’s (protein pump inhibitors). Normal GI motility involves a complex, tightly coordinated series of events designed to move material through the GI tract. SIBO can also be caused by gastric bypass surgery, structural abnormalities of the GI tract, IBS, and narcotic use.

Other risk factors and signs/symptoms for SIBO:

You have recently taken antibiotics or have a history of antibiotic use.
You feel worse when you take probiotics with prebiotics.
Eating more fiber causes constipation, even when you drink plenty of water.
Your lab work reveals low ferritin levels without any apparent other cause.
You have experienced gut infections (especially h Pylori).

Why has my SIBO come back? Well, I don’t know for sure. But these are my best guesses:

I got lazy with taking my enzyme supplement that contains Betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid). Betaine HCl supports stomach acid secretion, which in turn suppresses growth of unwanted bacteria in the upper small intestine.
I was taking thyroid support for awhile, which I discontinued due to side effects. The thyroid gland, being the master gland of metabolism, helps to support normal GI motility (muscular contractions in the GI tract).
Summer came and I started eating more fruits like cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Great food for the bacteria!

SIBO is complicated and normally many steps have to be taken to address it and prevent its recurrence. In fact, I highly recommend that you work with a qualified nutritionist or practitioner to test for SIBO and other factors that may be contributing to it and create a plan to address it. However, here are five simple steps that you can take now to start tackling SIBO if you know you have it or suspect that you do:

1. Let at least 4 hours go by in between your meals. When you are fasting, you typically get a gurgling sound in stomach. This is good. This means that cleaning up is taking place. It should happen every 90 minutes when the stomach is empty. This is referred to as a small bowel cleaning wave.

2. Make or purchase bone broth and drink liberally to help decrease inflammation and heal up the gut.

3. Take a digestive enzyme supplement that contains Betaine HCl with your meals.

4. Restrict the amount of fermentable carbs in your diet until your SIBO is resolved. Then you can add them back in. Foods high in FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols) should be avoided. These include garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, and apricots.

5. Take a soil based probiotic supplement, which also acts as an antimicrobial to help kill off the unwanted bacteria.

NOTE: Work with a practitioner to test for other contributing factors to SIBO like a gut infection or hypothyroidism. There are also different types of SIBO, and your health care practitioner can help you put together a dietary and supplement plan that effectively addresses your type of SIBO.

If you think you have SIBO, please schedule a complementary strategy session with me to discuss! Complimentary Strategy Session

Walking and eating my way through Italy!

After a lot of talk, saving, and planning, my boyfriend and I finally made it to Italy. Italy (especially Tuscany) had been on my vision board for years. The plan was to visit some cities and towns on our own, and then join a group called Backroads for six days to hike around Cinque Terre (on the Italian Riviera) and the Chianti region of Tuscany.

I fell in love with Italy on our first day in Rome. The history, the language, the narrow cobblestone streets, the piazzas where everyone gathers, eating outside, and the FOOD. There were NO dietary restrictions for me on this trip. Of course, I had to eat pizza while in Italy at least a couple of times, indulge in several fresh pasta dishes, and savor gelato every evening (after all, it was really hot!) My green tea ritual in the morning became an espresso ritual, cured meat like prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese were a staple in my breakfast menu, and wine with dinner was a given. And wine sometimes accompanied lunch too! Although it was in the 90s (really hot for San Francisco people) and we were either walking the cities all day or hiking the backroads with elevation gain, I felt great and my new Italian diet really agreed with me.

Our meals by the sea in the region of Liguria were filled with fresh seafood like octopus, calamari, anchovies and mixed fish dishes with lots of grilled vegetables. Of course, there were always pasta options and pasta with pesto was very popular in this region. White wine was the color of choice and indeed the grapes of the Cinque Terre are used to produce two locally made white wines. And we got to hike through the actual vineyards! And of course, gelato for desert!


Heading inland to the Chianti region our meals shifted to “antipasto” of cured sliced meats and thin slices of lightly toasted bread spread with chicken liver pate, pasta with wild boar sauce, rabbit, Tuscan beef stew and the Bistecca Fiorentina (the largest
T bone steak I have ever seen!) and more vegetables. My favorite dish was the rabbit, with the Tuscan beef stew coming in a close second. Red wine was the color of choice here, and we fell in love with the Brunello di Montalcino. And of course we didn’t pass up the Chianti Classico!!

In the six months leading up to this trip, I met so many people that have been to Italy and who shared their stories with me. Of course, talk of Italy eventually includes Italian food and I found that these same questions often came up:

Why can people who are gluten sensitive in the US tolerate wheat products like pasta in Italy?

Why do people who have dairy intolerance in the US do just fine with gelato in Italy?
Why can a person drink wine in Italy and not get headaches but get terrible headaches here in the U.S. after a glass or two of wine?

And my own questions:

Why is their olive oil SO much better? We have lots of olive trees in this area of the country…

Why are their tomatoes so much tastier?

And where do you find a gelato in this area that tastes like Italian gelato? If you know the answer, please let me know!

Of course, there have been various explanations for all of these questions. I have heard folks claim that there is less gluten in Italian wheat products, less added sulfites in their wine, and less preservatives in the gelato. Well, all wines contain sulfites because they are a naturally occurring by product of fermentation. And European winemakers DO add sulfites to their wine, especially if it will not be consumed within a short amount of time (to prevent the wine from spoiling). They just don’t have to add the warning label that their wines contain sulfites!

Perhaps the answer is when you are vacationing you just digest better because you are less stressed and you take time to eat your meals and really enjoy them! And maybe when you drink wine in Italy you are drinking wine with big hearty meals over a longer period of time and then walking it all off afterwards. I prefer to leave it a mystery and enjoy the magic of it all when I return!! Maybe we can learn something from Italians when it comes to eating and enjoying our food!

P.S. Several folks in our Backroads hiking group had dietary restrictions (gluten free, red meat free, vegetarian) and were served plenty of fresh food alternatives that were delicious! And a large percentage of Italian restaurants now serve gluten free pasta.

Please join me on my Facebook page next week as I post my photos on eating my way through Italy!

How Environmental Chemicals Affect Our Hormones and Cause Us to Gain Weight

I recently was interviewed by Robin Nielsen, Chief Health Officer for Insulite Health, on the topic of how environmental chemicals affect our hormones and cause us to gain weight. Insulite Health provides a support community for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). The prevalence of PCOS is up to 10% in women ages 12 – 45 years and occurs in post menopausal women as well. Many women have PCOS and have never been diagnosed. Certain chemicals have been linked to the hormone imbalances that occur in PCOS. Listen to the interview here:

Chemicals that impact the secretion and metabolism of our hormones responsible for regulation of our internal environment, reproduction and development are called endocrine disruptors. Obesogens fall into this class, and specifically disrupt our hormones related to appetite, satiety and metabolism. I will use these terms interchangeably in this article. As I was reviewing the research on these obesogens/endocrine disruptors, it became very apparent to me that we need to pay a lot more attention to how these chemicals are affecting our well being.

Research to date suggests different obesogenic compounds may have different mechanisms of action, some affecting the number of fat cells, others the size of fat cells, and still others the hormones that affect appetite, how full you feel, food preferences, and energy metabolism. And these effects can be passed down through generations. (1)

Where are these obesogens/endocrine disruptors found? Unfortunately, they are found just about everywhere. The list is long and some of the chemicals persist in the environment for decades, long after they are banned! DDT was banned in the US decades ago, but has a half life of 20 to 30 years, so it still persists in our environment today. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are found in dairy, fish, and meats and were also banned in the US decades ago. Obesogens are also found in solvents (i.e. grease cleaners and paints), pesticides found in foods, parabens found in personal care products like shampoos and lotions, and BPA (bisphenol A) found in plastic bottles, thermal receipts, the lining of most food cans and medical devices.

As I was sifting through the research, I was particularly fascinated by the impact of BPA (bisphenol A) as an obesogen. Animal studies show that “BPA reduces the number of fat cells but programs them to incorporate more fat, so there are fewer but very large fat cells.” (2) And women with PCOS have been found to have higher levels of BPA, which means they are not properly detoxifying BPA. (3) BPA is a big one…how do we decrease our exposure and get it out of our bodies??

Practical recommendations to decrease your exposure to BPA and get it out of your body:

1. Get a good sweat on for at least 15 minutes three times a week. Sweat helps you excrete BPA! So dance, exercise, take a sauna…whatever gets you to sweat!! (4)

2. Avoid touching receipts after using hand sanitizers, lotions, or creams. BPA is found in receipts. Using a hand sanitizer before touching a receipt was found to increase absorption of BPA by 100 fold. (5)

3. Eat less processed foods and more whole foods. A study found that families who ate a fresh food diet (organic meals with no canned food and minimal plastic packaging) for three days and stored their food in glass and stainless steel containers decreased the average level of BPA in their urine by over 60%. When these families returned to their conventional diets, their BPA levels went back up to pre-intervention levels. (6) Just three days on a whole foods diet impacted levels of BPA!!

4. Eat probiotic rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir. An animal study found that two common probiotic stains, bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casie, helped the body detoxify by reducing the absorption of BPA by facilitating increased excretion of BPA in the feces. (7) So in other words, probiotics helped poop out the BPA!

5. Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles. Use glass or stainless steel bottles instead. Also avoid storing food or microwaving in plastic containers.

7. ] Kenji Oishi, Tadashi Sato, Wakae Yokoi, Yasuto Yoshida, Masahiko Ito, Haruji Sawada. Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113

Microbes!! Why we need to ensure their protection from extinction and how to feed them!



What an exciting time when it comes to learning all about the bacteria or microbes that live within our intestines and how they impact our health and well being! Called the microbiome, these trillions of gut microbes help us extract nutrients from food and have a big influence on our metabolism, cravings, mood, and mental function.

Last week I listened to two interviews on the gut microbiome. The first interview was with Martin Blaser, MD, author of the book The Missing Microbes. The second interview was with Raphael Kellman, MD, author of the book The Microbiome Diet. I have high lighted below several key discussion points from the interviews which I found fascinating and which I hope you will find fascinating too. And the summary saves you a little time…kind of like cliff notes!

Dr. Martin Blaser pointed out that last year the CDC published a survey of antibiotic use in the U.S. In 2010, there were 258 million courses of antibiotics prescribed. That is a lot of antibiotics! Interestingly, the northern part of the U.S. and the midwest were at national average when it came to antibiotic use. On the west coast, there was way less use, in the south there was way more use. A cultural or educational component to antibiotics?

In summary, Dr. Martin Blaser is genuinely concerned about the overuse of antibiotics. The more we use them, the more we are selecting for resistant organisms. In other words, we are becoming antibiotic resistant because we are depleting our normal organisms that are part of our defense against invaders. He fears the extinction of bacteria in the human microbiome and the implications of this extinction.

A few of his key points:

•When you stop a round of antibiotics, everything just doesn’t bounce back to normal. Antibiotics change the microbe composition in the body. Some organisms increase, some decrease, and some go down to zero. When they go down to zero, they do not come back!

•The average child in the U.S. gets 4 courses of antibiotics by the time they are three. In Sweden the average child gets 1.4 courses. By the age of ten, the average child in the U.S. gets 10 courses of antibiotics. Do we need to think about using antibiotics more judiciously? Are we giving them for short term benefit without thinking of long term risk? And are we giving them when they are not indicated? For example, most ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. If this is the case, does it make sense for a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection when it is caused by a virus? Technology does exist today to determine a viral from bacterial infection, but it is not economically scalable right now.

•Do antibiotics contribute to obesity? Farmers have been feeding antibiotics to their livestock for years! Antibiotics promote their growth by helping the livestock to use their food more efficiently to convert food calories into body mass. Is overuse of antibiotics contributing to obesity in humans? Something to think about!

Dr Raphael Kellman’s interview focused on the importance of a diverse microbiome and how an altered gut microbiota play a huge role in disease. He also discussed way to feed your gut bacteria and promote diversity.

Several of his key points:

•An altered gut microbiota plays a huge role in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos, and Crohn’s. What alters your gut bugs? Pesticides, GMOs, NSAIDs, Proton Pump Inhibitors and antibiotics can all affect your microbiome.

•There is no one ideal microbiome. In fact, there are numerous good microbiomes. One bacteria may be healthy in one context and unhealthy in another context. We determine what is good and not good by how the host (you) reacts.

•Our genes have not changed much since the Paleo era, but our microbiome evolves quickly. In fact, it can change significantly in one week! It is a master key to solving the mystery of many chronic diseases.

•We need to feed the microbiome with prebiotics like inulin, resistant starch foods, and fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You can check out Dr. Kellman’s book for his specific microbiome diet. (My comment: Please note that folks with Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth, a.k.a. SIBO, may need to start very slowly with prebiotics or deal with the SIBO before adding inulin and other traditional prebiotics to their diet).

•How do you know if your gut microbiome is unhealthy? Certainly you may have symptoms ranging from bloating/gas to pain/inflammation to fatigue and brain fog. There are also simple lab tests that you can do to measure biomarkers. If you are interested in learning more about your gut health and if a less than optimal microbiome is contributing to unpleasant symptoms and even disease, please schedule a complementary strategy session with me now.